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YMMV / The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Click here for tropes pertaining to the trilogy as a whole.

  • Author's Saving Throw: When Peter Jackson directed The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, he interpreted "the Eye of Sauron" as a literal giant, fiery, evil eye while the phrase was meant to be more metaphorical, and this change was met with derision by some fans. This film implies that the flaming eye in the previous films was not actually a literal eye, but rather the humanoid silhouette of Sauron, Wreathed in Flames to give the appearance of a giant eye.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: When Thranduil talks about fighting dragons of the north, his cheek briefly melts away to reveal flesh and bone beneath, only to quickly heal back up. Nobody seems to even notice it, especially Thorin, who was only inches away when it happened. There are several theories as to what it actually means—is it an old wound, a real wound he has glamoured over, a spell meant to intimidate, and so on.
  • Contested Sequel: Critics considered The Desolation of Smaug superior to An Unexpected Journey, since the movie fixes some of the problems An Unexpected Journey had, along with Smaug and Legolas. However, fans of the book tend to label it a step down, citing the greater changes from the source material, the increased focus on action, and rather dodgy CGI in many places.
  • Creepy Awesome: Smaug and the Necromancer.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Beorn. A giant of a man, oddly philosophic for his size.
    • Bolg being the first person to actually fight Legolas to a stand-still actually won him over many fans. Many eagerly awaited the rematch in the final film.
  • Genius Bonus: At first, Thranduil's talk of having faced dragon fire in the distant past seems like a rewrite of the character's history. Then one remembers that Thranduil lived during the First Age; it's entirely possible that he fought in the War of Wrath, where Morgoth unleashed an entire army of flying dragons. No wonder he's pissed at Thorin for implying he's a coward.
  • He Really Can Act: Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. When playing the role, Benedict had to wear a full body motion capture suit and speak his lines with a very deep, animalistic tone of voice. Not only did he pull off the voice, but he also studied reptiles at the zoo to perfect their movement when acting as Smaug.
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  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Gloin carries a locket containing pictures of his wife and his son, Gimli. Legolas sees it and makes a rather mean-spirited comment about his appearance. Of course, unbeknownst to Legolas, the young dwarf he's mocking would become his closest friend 60 years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Even critics who hated the film thought it was worth watching just to see Smaug. And speaking of Godzilla, some internet forum goers have said that anyone who hadn't planned on seeing The Desolation of Smaug ought to reconsider just to see the preceding trailer for Godzilla (2014).
  • Narm:
    • Azog's animation has gotten a lot better, but his tendency to roar and spit out every single one of his lines can eventually come off as unintentionally comical.
    • Kíli seeing Tauriel in an angelic light when she heals him. It may have been intended as a Call-Back to Fellowship when Frodo saw Arwen for the first time, but it seems more like something from a shoujo manga. Plus, the tremendously uncomfortable-looking pile of walnuts that Kili's using as a pillow.
    • Smaug's line "I am fire. I am death."
    • "They'll be done in a jiffy!" "We don't have a jiffy."
    • Sauron appearing as the pupil of his Lidless Eye is unnerving... the Droste Image though is very much like Inception.
    • Thranduil's rather silly looking headdress.
    • Bombur massacres tons of orcs... while bouncing down the Mirkwood falls in a barrel. This goes on for a full minute, and it's awesome and comical at the same time.
    • Thorin rides through a river of molten gold. In a wheelbarrow. While trying to look majestic.
    • In the extended edition, Thrain's death is placed between two very grim and serious scenes - his tale and Sauron's reveal. It's punctuated with a loud Wilhelm scream, of all things.
    • Smaug's "You!" Exclamation upon being confronted by Thorin.
  • Nausea Fuel: The extended edition features the Master downing a plate of mountain oysters with obvious relish.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The spiders of Mirkwood become a lot less creepy after Bilbo puts on the Ring and begins to understand their language; they have rather screechy voices and aren't all that bright.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The Necromancer returneth, and he's even more terrifyingly memorable than the last time.
    • Beorn. Word of God said he would have a larger role in the final movie when in fact he had even less screen time.
    • Narzug, the orc that is taken captive by Tauriel and Legolas, and then gets his head cut off after being interrogated by Thranduil, is remembered by many for being the one orc in the entire movie that actually looks realistic over being made of pure CGI. The actor who plays the orc seals the deal for a rather memorable 2-minute performance as a vile gloater.
  • Pandering to the Base:
    • Everything that was said about the Adaptation Expansion of An Unexpected Journey as pandering applies here (jazzing the story up as a epic prequel setting up The Lord of the Rings at the cost of losing the simpler story and tone of the book, padding, etc.)
    • Kíli has an expanded role in this film, even though he was already a popular character considered by fans to be the attractive dwarf. His romantic connection to Tauriel also counts.
    • Legolas was the Ensemble Dark Horse of the original film trilogy. Guess who got the most focus in all of the trailers? The fact that he's in the film at all is partly an example of this trope: he wasn't mentioned in the book (his character having not been conceptualized at the time), although there is a very plausible reason for him to turn up (the company being imprisoned by his father).
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Tauriel, Legolas, and Kíli's Love Triangle subplot to some viewers. In an interview, Evangeline Lilly said that she only agreed to play Tauriel after Jackson promised her that it'll be a simple romance and there would be no love triangle. But later, reshoots happened...
  • Signature Scene: Bilbo's first meeting with Smaug.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Smaug getting hit with molten gold is very obvious CGI.
    • Another glaring one. Some brief shots in the barrel rafting sequence look as though they were shot with a Go-Pro, with obvious digital artifacts.
    • The transformation into the Bombur Barrel is very obvious CGI.
    • Smaug's fire fails to have an effect on most things it engulfs or touches, even if said things are made of wood.
    • When Kili gets struck by an arrow to his leg, it looks more like it missed him with an inch.
    • When Legolas is standing by the river and speaking to Tauriel (with the sun shining behind him), you can clearly see where the prosthetics end and where Orlando Bloom's real ear starts.
    • It's rather amusing to see the dwarves standing by Durin's Door... and being lit by a very obvious spotlight. It's completely different from the lighting in the close-up shots and looks ridiculous.
    • In the Hall Of The Kings, when Smaug takes down the wall, the hangings that fall with the masonry are extremely unconvincing due to the way the fabric moves.
    • Bolg as a CGI character stands out amongst his fellow orcs in real prosthetics and suits, possibly as an result of being a CGI replacement of a replacement as Azog in the trailers was the one chasing the dwarves still.
    • The dead dwarves in Erebor look like dolls or mannequins, not dead bodies.
    • In one scene in the extended edition, Martin Freeman's hobbit foot starts to come off as he crosses the stream.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley: Smaug's facial expressions are taken from motion captures of Benedict Cumberbatch emoting while speaking his dialogue. The result gives Smaug's face a disturbingly creepy appearance and a hideous intelligence.
  • Unexpected Character: Legolas, to those who had read the book before seeing the movie. And, to a lesser extent, Sauron, although he had been built up prior to his appearance at the climax and was mentioned in the book, but didn't make an appearance.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Smaug, a huge step forward for CG and motion capture characters. When you first see him, you'd swear they found a real dragon for the movie. He looks that good. It could even be considered the new generation's equivalent of seeing the first dinosaur in Jurassic Park.
    • Additionally, there is Gandalf's battle with the Necromancer, particularly The Reveal of Sauron, wreathed in a flame that matches the appearance of his famed Eye.
    • It's small and easy to miss, but when you look very closely during the scene where Thranduil talks about the "white gems of pure starlight," you can see them sparkle in his eyes.